Hope

Why pray?

One of the purposes of prayer is to make us aware of our own dependence upon the Lord. No concern is too small to bring to Him, and nothing is too big for Him to handle. In fact, we are told to worry about nothing and to pray about everything.

Commentary from the In Touch devotional by Charles Stanley, September 2021.

Then thank Jesus

What does the cross mean to you? Many people in the world today view it as a symbol of Christianity, but think about what it represented in Christ’s day. Nobody wore a miniature cross around the neck or displayed one in a place of worship. The cross was a tortuous means of execution, and the mere thought of it was repulsive.

Yet believers throughout the ages have chosen this as the sign of their faith. In fact, to remove the cross from our teaching and theology would leave nothing but an empty, powerless religion. How could anyone be saved if Christ had not been crucified and resurrected? According to Scripture, there can be no forgiveness without the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22). Christ had to bear the punishment for our sin in order for God to grant us forgiveness.

Every time you see a cross, remember what it really was – an instrument of execution. Then thank Jesus that He was willing to be crucified so the Father could forgive you of sin. Though the scene of your redemption was horrendous, Christ turned the cross into a place of great triumph. For more about Jesus and His gift of salvation: https://wordpicturesbydlink.wordpress.com/jesus/

Commentary by Charles Stanley, from the In Touch devotional, April 3, 2021. https://www.intouch.org/read/magazine/daily-devotions

What is love?

We hear a lot about love in books, songs, and conversations, and we can lose sight of its spiritual dimensions. Believers must remember that God’s love is of a much higher caliber – it is the starting point of our salvation. If He had not loved us first (1 John 4:10), we’d be destined for eternal consequences rather than eternal life. Never let the world’s shallow concept of love rob you of the wonder of being a recipient of God’s divine love, which transforms us from enemies to heirs.

Commentary from the In Touch devotional by Charles Stanley, January 12, 2021.

It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah

I came across this video on You Tube of Andrea Bocelli singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, with his daughter Virginia. There are few performances that compare to this one-which is the reason I am posting it here. It did not make national or international news when it was released…but maybe it should have. I think we could all use this much beauty in our lives right now.

The song Hallelujah is one I never really cared for. Yes the tune is amazing, but at first listen, it struck me as odd that the writer combines the brokenness of man and the human experience with God’s holiness within the lyrics. I wasn’t sure if this song honored God or if it dishonored God. But only a few weeks ago, I listed to the song and the line “It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah” hit me hard. It finally occurred to me that regardless of God’s holiness or His attributes, anything that man, we, offer to God as far as praise is just that, cold and broken. Isaiah 64:6 provides more on that. However, the entirety of the human experience, along with our nature, means that for us there is a lot of brokenness (Genesis 3). We come to God with all of that, and although He gets us through it all, teaching us and growing us up, each one individually, the brokenness of this life means when we do come to Him for help and guidance we often come with a tired or exhausted Hallelujah. This is what we bring.

No matter how much you have had to carry this past year, or in your life, God is there, still, waiting for you to come to Him with all of that (John 6:35,37,39; Matthew 11:28-30, etc.). It is all broken, but He is happy for you to bring it to Him. With God there is hope, for each day. He provides that to us, because He just loves us that much.

For more about that hope, please see https://wordpicturesbydlink.wordpress.com/jesus/

Hallelujah can be found on Andrea Bocelli’s cd Believe released in 2020.

Dying is Daily

Are you letting Christ sanctify you through your pain and trouble, or are you hanging on to disappointment, anger, and bitterness?

Afflictions and trials which are externally visible seem at odds with the good that Christ is doing within every believer. Yet we are not to lose heart, because “our inner man is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). It’s through our suffering that this transformation becomes most visible to others as they see Christ’s supernatural peace and joy displayed in us.

The key to contentment in every situation is a willingness to look below the surface of your pain and see both the good that Christ is working in you and the glory that is guaranteed to follow. The constant dying to self and even persecution were ways in which Jesus Christ‘s life was displayed in the apostles.

Commentary from the In Touch devotional by Charles Stanley, August 17, 2019.

The Nature of Discouragement

Understand that discouragement: Is something we can choose; is universal; can recur; is conquerable.

While it’s a natural response to difficult circumstances, we have the power to choose a different response. No one else is responsible for our discouragement.

If we trust in the Lord’s promises and His character, our feelings of discouragement will slowly be replaced by hope.

Commentary from the In Touch devotional by Charles Stanley, August 12, 2019.